Returning to the Love That You Have Always Been
How Were You Loved? How Do You Love?
I recently took some time out to work in silence through a personal relationship issue. I wanted to resolve this through inner awareness versus trying to talk it through, as up to that point, talking just seemed to wind me into a deeper unmanageable entanglement of negative thoughts and feelings. My intention was to return to a deeper sense of love for this person and not simply cycle through my typical unsatisfying patterns!
During this process, the pervading inner question was: “What is the real issue here?” Out of the silence, I heard, “The issue is that you would like to be loved one way and you are being loved in another.” Notice that my inner voice did not say that I was not being loved, but rather, that I perceived it should look one way and it was showing up in another way.
Upon further contemplation, I realized that I had a concept of how I thought I should be loved, based on unconscious patterns of what was considered to be lacking. When I placed my focus squarely on what was perceived as wrong with the “picture” (powerful creators that we all are), I could only experience the evidence of that!
The next logical question naturally arose: How was love being offered? I began to make a list of all the ways this was already happening. As you can imagine, the minute I focused my attention on how love was being expressed, my perception of the situation changed and hence so did my experience. Makes perfect sense, right? Change your focus, change your reality! What I did not expect was that as I read through the list I clearly saw that my experience of the love I was receiving was much deeper and more powerful than my concept of it.
My curiosity then flashed me back to my upbringing and that experience of love. I think most of us can say that at some point during our childhoods we wished we had been loved, seen, or supported in a way that we were not! Many spend their whole lives using this as an excuse for why they are not living the lives they would really love to live. Their focus is fixed so firmly on how they were not loved that they are powerfully reinforcing that position and hence creating their lives in that image.
The story of “how we were not loved” as children typically claims a lot of our attention long after our childhood is over. But there is another story at play here: This is the story of how love was being expressed!
Placing our focus on how we were loved does two things: It reorients us to what was right with the situation versus what was wrong, thus adding energy to that reality. And more importantly, it helps us to identifyand thus have compassion forthe other person’s beliefs about love. Remember, people can only love you in the way they love themselves, and almost no one is taught properly how to love and honor themselves!
Let me give you a personal example. My biological father moved away when I was small and was remarried by the time I was about eight years of age. It’s not hard to imagine that an eight-year-old would want time and joyful experiences with as well as praise and support from their father. From an eight-year-old’s perspective (which many hold onto long into adulthood), I could assume that because I did not receive these things, I was “unloved.”
But is that true?
If, as an adult, I look back and ask from a place of neutrality, “How did he show his love and care for me?” it allows me to begin to touch into what my father had been taught about love and thus open my heart to his experience.
So, in this case, my father bought me things he could not afford. He dressed me up and took me places that were impressive to him but not to an eight-year-old. He attempted to protect me from his life experience and those seeking repayment for money he owed them by making sure I did not answer the phone or speak out of turn whenever we ran into his “friends.”
He demonstrated his love for me in the way he had been taught to care for himself. Seeing this clearly, it was easy to have compassion for how he loved me and even easier to see that the way he cared had absolutely nothing to do with me. It had to do with how he loved and cared for himself.
I ran through the question: “How was love and care demonstrated?” for each of my closest relationships. I experienced one of two things by working through this process. Either I realized I was loved much more deeply than I had anticipated, or I was naturally able to access love and compassion for the person in a way I had not experienced before asking the question.
It’s important right here and right now to open ourselves to the capacity to love so that we can give and receive love fully. Our greatest expression of Self is to express the love that we actually are, and this requires us to stop telling ourselves only one half of the story!
So tell yourself how you were/are loved and cared for. And if, because of your life experiences, you find yourself having to dig deep to come to that awareness, then use that as an excuse to love beyond what you thought you could love before.
Either way you will benefit.
You will experience the love that you are.